AQA A Level Biology

Revision Notes

3.2.7 PVR

Maths Skill: PVR

  • The volume of air within the lungs of an individual will change depending on their level of activity
    • When at rest, breathing is shallow and steady
    • When exercising, breathing is deeper and more frequent
  • The volume of air inspired per breath when at rest is the tidal volume
  • The breathing rate is the number of breaths taken per minute
  • Using the results from a spirometer a trace can be created to show the volume changes in the lungs

Changes to Lung Volume, downloadable AS & A Level Biology revision notes

The changes in the volume of air present in the lungs are shown here. Note the residual volume, this is the volume of air left in the lungs after as much air has been breathed out as possible.

Calculating the Pulmonary Ventilation Rate

  • The volume of air respired in one minute is known as the pulmonary ventilation rate
  • It is calculated by multiplying the tidal volume by the breathing rate

PVR = tidal volume x breathing rate

Worked Example

An individual’s pulmonary ventilation rate at rest was found to be 7.4 dm3 min-1. They took 12 breaths in one minute. Calculate their tidal volume.

Step One: Rearrange the equation

PVR = tidal volume x breathing rate

Rearange to:

 Tidal volume = PVR ÷ breathing rate

Step Two: Insert relevant figures

Tidal volume = 7.4 ÷ 12 = 0.6166

Tidal volume = 0.62 dm3

Exam Tip

You don’t need to memorise the terms tidal volume, vital capacity or total lung capacity.

Author: Lára

Lára graduated from Oxford University in Biological Sciences and has now been a science tutor working in the UK for several years. Lára has a particular interest in the area of infectious disease and epidemiology, and enjoys creating original educational materials that develop confidence and facilitate learning.

Join Save My Exams

Download all our Revision Notes as PDFs

Try a Free Sample of our revision notes as a printable PDF.

Join Now
Already a member?
Go to Top